Fans cheer grand reopening of ‘The Great Gatsby’ in London’s West End
LONDON (UK) – Maintaining social distancing norms, guests lined up for the relaunch of “The Great Gatsby” in West End, London, on Thursday evening. Amid the sharp suits and glamorous attire of the 1920s, what conspicuously stood out was a 2020 fashion accessory – the face mask.
Organisers said it was the first press night of the West End autumn season and COVID prevention measures were put in place at the Mayfair townhouse where the performance took place. Patrons checked in via an application after sanitising their hands and were seated at properly spaced tables for the show.
Such measures did not take away the enjoyment of the show which is set in the world of US author F Scott Fitzgerald’s character Jay Gatsby, a millionaire.
“I’ve just cried my eyes out at the finale,” said Jess Pether, one of the viewers. “To see people performing after so long, it’s filled my soul. It’s filled my heart. It was great.”
All theatres, music halls and entertainment venues in West End were closed down in March to halt the spread of the virus.
“The Great Gatsby” is one of the first shows to return to West End and its producers hope it will be a blueprint for other production houses to begin admitting patrons.
The capacity has been restricted to just 100, which is more than half of the normal number and contents of the show were tweaked to avoid any activity deemed to be risky.
“We used to have a 250-person Charleston that was really gorgeous to watch but it’s probably not the most responsible thing to do, so we’ve turned that into a new scene,” said Brian Hook, the production company’s chief creative officer.
At the end of the show, an actor stood on a table to announce that the cast would not mingle with the audience.
“This is the most ridiculous, difficult adventure of my life,” said an emotional Hook. “But if you sit and listen to those audience members cheer our performance on … it’s honestly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”
“Try and fight and scrap. Do not go quietly into the night.”